New paper by Crossin and Williams explains weird penguin reproduction

October 05, 2016

Crested penguins do a lot of weird stuff when it comes to reproduction: they lay two eggs but only ever rear one chick, the first egg is much smaller than the second egg, and sometimes females even kick the small egg out of the nest. This unique reproductive pattern has attracted the attention of biologists since the 1960s but has remained unresolved. In a recent paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society Glenn Crossin (ex-SFU post-doc now at Dalhousie) and Tony Williams suggest that the pattern of egg-size dimorphism across 16 penguin species can be explained by how much they overlap two "expensive" activities: swimming rapidly back to the breeding grounds from wintering areas, and egg formation, i.e. there is likely a "physiological conflict" between migration and reproduction.

Read the article at the link below, as well as National Geographic's coverage of the story.